Most Destination Management Companies (DMCs) set a high bar when it comes to customer service. Their clients (and agents) have high expectations and seek DMCs out for unique and personalized experiences. And they are generally willing to pay more to do business with companies that offer a better experience, including how they pay for them.
While some segments of the travel space have been quicker to implement modern, digital payment technologies, the DMC industry has been slower to adapt, partly due the complexity of their legacy systems, and partly due to the assumption that payments are not an integral part of the customer experience. This can create friction and confusion within the client booking journey, putting off potential clients and agents, and deterring them from future bookings with that DMC.
But that is changing. More and more DMCs now understand the importance of implementing convenient, secure, and cost-effective payment processes, and they are partnering with payment specialists to deliver on it. This not only enables them to better meet client and agent expectations and win new business, it also streamlines internal processes, reduces operational costs, and improves cash flow.
For DMCs looking to improve their payment processes, here are four things they can learn from others that have made payments an integral part of the client/agent experience:
1. Offer Flexible Digital Payment Methods
The traditional methods used by many DMCs to collect agent and client fees, such as calling in card details or using fillable PDFs, are becoming obsolete. Customers increasingly expect to be able to pay via their preferred method, online, and in their local currency. DMCs need to emphasize payment flexibility and options, e.g., credit card, bank transfer, mobile, and online.
2. Localize Payments
In addition to offering a variety of payment methods, DMCs should make payments local whenever possible. DMCs attract a growing number of international clients which makes the payment process even more complex. Not only is it difficult and costly to process these transactions in foreign currencies without holding bank accounts in various markets, it is also challenging to comply with country-by-country payment regulations and requirements.
It's important to simplify this process with modern digital payment solutions. And avoid international wire transfers and international money orders. They are both expensive and risky for the DMC, agents and clients.
3. Minimize Card Fees
Credit cards are popular payment methods that many travel companies rely on, but the bank and merchant fees that accompany them can quickly eat away profits, especially with international payments. You have interchange fees based on business location; card scheme and acquirer fees based on transaction size, volume and risk profile; and payment gateway fees based on each authorization and fraud check performed along the way. It adds up quickly and costs the DMC, their agents, and their clients. Work with your payment solution provider to simplify and reduce these costs and provide transparency for all parties involved in the transaction. This will increase agent and client satisfaction and increase the bottom line.
4. Provide Dedicated Payer Support
With agents and clients all over the world, DMCs need to be able to address payment questions from all over the world. “Payers” expect to speak with someone well-versed in the complexities of their particular challenge and in their preferred language. Select a solution provider that can deliver that for you and do it across multiple channels, e.g., online chat, email and phone. Identify a partner with a strong payer support focus and confirm they can handle all payment-related inquiries where you do business. This will help maintain the integrity of your brand and the agents' overall experience.
There are a number of disruptive financial technology companies and payment processors whose goal it is to simplify the payment process while reducing the costs that come with using traditional banks and card processors. It can be a very worthwhile exercise to understand how different solutions can help you put these four steps to work for your DMC. To learn more, download this report on The Future of DMC Payments.